Listening to God in the middle of struggle

Listening to God’s Voice in the Middle of My Struggle

“Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.” – Mark 13:11

Red dust from the dirt infield swirls in the air around us, and metal bleachers hold our collective weight with no cushioning relief. In front of us, 11 and 12 year old boys swing and miss, catch fly balls (and miss them), and look to their coaches for signals.

Multiple times a week, my family treks to the ball field for little league baseball games, and the games always take me by surprise. We watch complete shutouts one week against a team that plays like pros, and the next week the same team fails to score a single run. We watch boys who have struggled all season suddenly hit line drives, and we watch boys who usually play left field excel when put on first base.

Baseball is a lesson in the truth “Nothing stays the same,” and in the case of adolescent boys, absolutely nothing is predictable.

As a baseball mama, I’ve learned that athletic ability isn’t the most important factor in how well a player plays. It’s always the brain. It’s always his determination to try when he thinks he can’t, perseverance when the game’s running long and there’s no end in sight, and focus when distractions are all around.

Yes, the brain is always the key. But sometimes it’s also the obstacle.

Lazada Philippines

At a recent game, our pitcher is inconsistent. He throws a scorching fastball followed by a wild pitch that leaves the catcher chasing it. Back and forth his pitches go, and he is visibly becoming frustrated. Then, a booming voice from the bleachers: “Get out of your head and play the game.”

His dad.

His dad knows his boy, knows that he is overthinking his actions and trying to will himself to throw strikes. His dad knows that he is obsessing over his form rather than relying on his training. His dad knows exactly what his struggle is and speaks to him about it from his position beyond the playing field.

His dad knows the struggle.

And so does my Father.

You see, I am a chronic over-thinker. I have the tendency to live in my head and obsess over my actions. I try to will myself to do things the right way, and I can think so deeply about what I should do that I forget what I’ve been trained in the faith to do.

Sometimes I need the voice of my Father to bring me back to what I’ve learned. Sometimes I need the perspective of One who is beyond the playing field. And sometimes I need to stop trying so hard and just play the game.

Living as a woman, wife, and mother of faith is no small task. Every day can be a minefield of decisions and can feel like a war zone requiring me to make perfect decisions. The desire for perfection, though, often sabotages me. I try so hard to throw strikes that wild pitches come from my hands. I aim so much to pitch a perfect game that I can’t strike out a single batter.

I let my head take over and simply forget to play the game.

In Christ, I have everything I need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3).

All I need is in him and is from his power, but when I temporarily forget this and look inside myself instead of to him, I fail. Every single time.

The enemy wants me to believe that I have my own solutions. He wants me to search inside myself for answers and focus on how I’m doing rather than if I’m dwelling with Christ. The enemy’s plan is for me to stop playing the game.

Lazada PhilippinesBut I am not unaware of the devil’s schemes (2 Cor. 2:11). And because I know he will invite me to overthink and under-act, I will refuse. I will listen for the voice behind me saying, “This is the way; walk in it” (Isaiah 30:21). I will listen for the voice of my Father booming with his wisdom, and I will trust his ways – because He sees from beyond the playing field.

Jennie Scott is a Christian author and writes for Proverbs 31 Woman

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